String Quartet No. 1 (Inspired by Leo Tolstoy's Kreutzer Sonata)
In October 1923 the Czech Quartet invited Leos Janacek to "compose something for them". This provided the stimulus for his first string quartet. The work was inspired by Tolstoy's "Kreutzer Sonata" (which he had written influenced by Beethoven's famous violin sonata).
Janacek had also read Tolstoy's story earlier in the original Russian and already at that time it had inspired him to compose a piano trio in 1907 which was later lost.
Janacek's string quartet is a masterwork by the almost 70-year-old composer. The work sparked a creative impulse which continued with the composition of the second string quartet "Intimate Letters" in the last years of the composer's life.
Janacek's 2nd String Quartet is regarded as a highlight of the modern string quartet literature. It was written during the composer's last year of life inspired by the ageing Janacek's love for Kamila Stosslova.